The equity effects of restraints on taxing and spending

by Mark D. Menchik, Anthony H. Pascal

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Reviews changes in subnational public finance in the postwar period to identify the widespread trend restraining taxes and spending. Restraints are both de jure and de facto. Fiscal restraint may affect equity either explicitly or implicitly. The former mechanisms include increased regressivity of revenue systems (such as through user charges) and reduced funding for those redistributive programs that arouse the voters' ire. Implicitly, equity effects may also arise from minorities' reduced career opportunities in the public sector and from attempts to cut costs and improve efficiency, e.g., the elimination of facilities in neighborhoods prone to vandalism.

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